tween China and economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative ex
ceeded $130 billion between 2013 and 2018, injecting new growth momentum into BRI-rela
ted countries and contributing to recovery of the global economy, senior Chinese officials said on Monday.
China’s direct investment in BRI-related countries grew by 5.2 percent a
nnually on average to surpass $90 billion between 2013 and 2018, Song Lihong, an officia
l in the Ministry of Commerce’s Comprehensive Department, said at a news conference.
Song said that in the same period, China had received a total of
$40 billion in inbound investment from BRI countries as two-way investment deepened.
Within the five years, the value of the projects completed
by Chinese companies in BRI economies amounted to $400 billion, Song said.
The value of trade in goods between China and BRI-related economies exceeded $6 trillion in the same period, an av
rage annual growth of 4 percent, higher than the overall growth of China’s foreign trade, he added.
ational Cooperation, to be held in Beijing on Thursday through Saturday, S
ong said the ministry will help deepen economic and trade cooperation with other coun
tries. “China will build more free trade zones with countries that are willing to do so,” Song added.
“As for the existing free trade zones, we will reduce administrative barriers in trade
and investment and push the formation of a big Belt and Road marketplace.”
While some critics have argued that the initiative will lead countries i
nto debt traps, Song said debt can be solved through joint efforts to promote the devel
opment of BRI economies. “Even though some countries may have high debt levels, as their pace of indus
trialization, urbanization and modernization accelerates, their debts will gradually decrease.”
Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG, said, “If an initiative like the BRI unifies more than two-thirds of the global
population, it will create massive infrastructure and economic movement that will build its own rules.”
China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom
ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including
an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.
The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i
ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.
In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo
gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra
de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu
nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.